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The Spirited Seventh Heaven ...

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
How does one return from a truly WONDERful and MAGICal vacation? How does one get back in that 'real world' swing?

By starting a thread here and watching all the fun follow, of course.

Now, I was going to wait until this weekend when I'll have more time to start this, but buoyed by the successful and cliche filled return of Jack Bauer (24 is still the same fun pro-torture government PR it always has been) and the Miami Heat's march to a pretty inevitable third straight NBA title, I figured why put off a good thing, right?

Now, I could tell you all about my amazing travels (or at least the Disney portion that included everything from a 15-night DCL voyage thru the Panama Canal to a week at DLR's Grand Californian Resort and Spa to a day in Glendale and Burbank but .... well, I know that might start the ******** about burying news or there not being news or folks whining about WDW, so I am going to tell this tale out of order and drop the WDW news quickly and then discuss the other things that, frankly, interest me more), but let's start with hot WDW News and Rumours, shall we?

Frozen at EPCOT. That is what has you all hot and bothered right? Well, it is coming to the ride formally known as the Maelstrom. It will be a rush job. I don't normally name sources but here I flat out will since my second source confirmed it to an audience of maybe 150 people during an onboard presentation on the Disney Wonder.

George Scribner, animator and Imagineer (for those who don't know his pedigree he directed 1988's Disney animated feature Oliver and Company, did background work on films including the Lion Ling, Dinosaur and Fantasia 2000 and was the director of Mickey's PhilharMagic and The Gran Fiesta Tour at WDW and also was responsible for TDS's Magic Lamp Theater film) confirmed that WDI is working on a redo of the ride with a Frozen overlay. BTW, his sister in law, Amy, was one of Frozen's producers.

Now, I don't think WDI wanted him leaking this to an audience of largely Disney geeks in the middle of the Pacific. But someone asked him about criticism over changing a classic EPCOT attraction by adding toons and he got a bit of that famous WDI 'we are smarter and better than our audience' 'tude and it sorta slipped out. I am not sure he had any intention of saying what he did, but he did.

Specifics? This is a Maelstrom redo, not a new Norway pavilion. I expect it to be cheaply executed. The biggest cost will be in redoing the finale scene as every other current scene can be (and looks like it will be) worked into a new attraction. The question is how far Disney will go in the queue and unload and whether the rumoured Olaf narrates a tour of today's Norway film will actually happen or not.

But this isn't an Imagination back and forth or even a Star Wars Land deal. It will happen. They want to strike now, before the Broadway play and the sequel, while everyone is Frozen over because at some point some of the glow over this nice but overrated film will melt.

A direct quote from a kind Glendale based creative is ''Disney doesn't want a repeat of Little Mermaid where it takes them decades to get product into the parks.''

More news?

How about leadership? How about Nick Franklin? How about corporate spin?

The man is leaving because Disney no longer desires his services. Realize that barring a financial misdeed or being caught with an underage playmate, Disney NEVER, EVER, EVER fires anyone. They just do the business equivalent and don't renew contracts. That is what happened here. NGE is an overbudgeted, out of control, hated by most CMs project. Someone had to pay for that behind the scenes and this was the brainchild of Nick and Jay Rasulo. JR isn't going anywhere. Nick used this project to save his job when none of his regional entertainment ventures ever got close to happening. It worked for the last six years.

But now reality has hit and not only is NGE not a huge financial windfall for WDW, it is a drag on the resort's financials and is preventing Disney from doing much in the parks to actually attract guests. Something had to give and it did.

Speaking of giving ... giving Tom Fitzgerald creative control over EPCOT likely means he will be looking for work sooner than Eric Jacobson or Joe Rohde or Kim Irvine. Giving up the DLR portfolio for a park with (Frozen aside) little on the horizon was his first push out the door according to respected voices at 1401.

Now ... how about some WDW rumour based heavily in reality?

Georgie K actually is delusional enough to think if he makes a success of NGE that he stands a chance of being Tom Staggs' replacement running P&R. The reality is George has no personality and charisma and stands no chance of ever moving to that level. ... BUT ... he could wind up with one last three-year deal, one that would take him to the ancient (by Diisney standards) age of 65. That deal wouldn't see him running WDW, per se, but move him into Meg's job overseeing WDW, DLR and DLP.

The problem there is that Meg, who has battled some serious health issues, is doing better and likes her job. She may well stay with the company for another contract and that will leave George unemployed (I can already see him and Andy chowing down at the Sizzler buffet on I-Drive).

The wild card in all of this remains Danny 'Sure, Lee is my daddy, but nepotism had nothing to do with my meteoric rise up the Disney exec ladder' Cockerell. He has been placed in a position to be groomed to be a longterm WDW Prez, yet he has struggled with running WDW's weakest park (sure, it may be happening on weekends for a month, but we all know that park will be hurting bigtime as soon as the SWWs end). And Phil Holmes has refused to move aside to give him the MK ops experience that seems to be needed for him to be top dog. This will be an interesting succession battle to watch.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
OK, you got your WDW news and rumours. Now, let's talk about my Faux Top One Percent Spirited Spring Holiday at Sea and (on) Disneyland ... or about my newest taboo love ... my beloved Cassandra who loves me in a way Angie M or any fanboi minion simply can't ... or ... OK, more news before opinion.

Let's start with the biggest project that Disney is developing: SDL.

It is behind schedule and has been the victim of huge budget slashing BUT ... don't believe the 'Late 2015' opening. Very shortly, Disney will be announcing an opening date for their first park in mainland China and that date will be in early fall (think September or October) of 2015. Also, understand that capacity issues have already been raised amongst Disney's Chinese partners. Part of that is why Toy Story Playland was hastily thrown in a park that it was never going in. But a real Phase II has already been pushed to the forefront, so much so that it won't likely ever be referred to as such (we all know Phase IIs are for coffee table books) but rather just attractions that won't be ready for opening and will debut from 2016-18.

PARTS of MM+ are Paris bound. So is a huge bailout that will leave TWDC as the controlling party as Euro Disney SCA goes forward.

Have no idea what it is or whether the OLC will bite ... but WDI has pitched a third gate for TDR and it is only a matter of time before something happens on this front.
 

njDizFan

Well-Known Member
It's crazy the way things in the corporate world...so they are giving Tom Fitzgerald a promotion because he has no where to go but fail, and eventually be fired? am I reading that correctly?
 

Soarin' Over Pgh

Well-Known Member
Welcome back! You've been missed! I'm happy to hear your vacation was great, what did you think of the Panama Canal cruise?

Here's what you missed:

Trolls, a bunch of name calling, some good discussions about Epcot and it's future, thoughts and opinions on maelstrom, a choice disney employee poking in and snapping at everyone then took his toys and went home, aaaand, yeah no, that's about it.

Welcome back!
 

spacemt354

Chili's
H
Frozen at EPCOT. That is what has you all hot and bothered right? Well, it is coming to the ride formally known as the Maelstrom. It will be a rush job. I don't normally name sources but here I flat out will since my second source confirmed it to an audience of maybe 150 people during an onboard presentation on the Disney Wonder.

George Scribner, animator and Imagineer (for those who don't know his pedigree he directed 1988's Disney animated feature Oliver and Company, did background work on films including the Lion Ling, Dinosaur and Fantasia 2000 and was the director of Mickey's PhilharMagic and The Gran Fiesta Tour at WDW and also was responsible for TDS's Magic Lamp Theater film) confirmed that WDI is working on a redo of the ride with a Frozen overlay. BTW, his sister in law, Amy, was one of Frozen's producers.

Now, I don't think WDI wanted him leaking this to an audience of largely Disney geeks in the middle of the Pacific. But someone asked him about criticism over changing a classic EPCOT attraction by adding toons and he got a bit of that famous WDI 'we are smarter and better than our audience' 'tude and it sorta slipped out. I am not sure he had any intention of saying what he did, but he did.

Specifics? This is a Maelstrom redo, not a new Norway pavilion. I expect it to be cheaply executed. The biggest cost will be in redoing the finale scene as every other current scene can be (and looks like it will be) worked into a new attraction. The question is how far Disney will go in the queue and unload and whether the rumoured Olaf narrates a tour of today's Norway film will actually happen or not.

But this isn't an Imagination back and forth or even a Star Wars Land deal. It will happen. They want to strike now, before the Broadway play and the sequel, while everyone is Frozen over because at some point some of the glow over this nice but overrated film will melt.

A direct quote from a kind Glendale based creative is ''Disney doesn't want a repeat of Little Mermaid where it takes them decades to get product into the parks.''
Welcome Back!

Thanks for the Frozen info. Some threads were rampant with wild speculation about Frozen/Norway while you were gone. I'm glad the conversation can now be narrowed down to more of a specific possibility instead of speculating several possibilities.
 

Soarin' Over Pgh

Well-Known Member
Anxiously awaiting your thoughts on Disneyland...and anything more on shanghai. Is there a monorail going in?

And more importantly are you going to be there when it opens? :) any reason why September/October opening time? Would it have anything to do with air quality? The world will, indeed, be watching the opening. Especially with so many social media outlets...
 

flynnibus

Well-Known Member
How about leadership? How about Nick Franklin? How about corporate spin?

The man is leaving because Disney no longer desires his services. Realize that barring a financial misdeed or being caught with an underage playmate, Disney NEVER, EVER, EVER fires anyone. They just do the business equivalent and don't renew contracts. That is what happened here. NGE is an overbudgeted, out of control, hated by most CMs project. Someone had to pay for that behind the scenes and this was the brainchild of Nick and Jay Rasulo. JR isn't going anywhere. Nick used this project to save his job when none of his regional entertainment ventures ever got close to happening. It worked for the last six years.

But now reality has hit and not only is NGE not a huge financial windfall for WDW, it is a drag on the resort's financials and is preventing Disney from doing much in the parks to actually attract guests. Something had to give and it did.
@pheneix told quite a different story...

So Mr. Franklin was head of Disney theme park strategy in China before NextGen was made his problem, correct?

Is anyone asking why this guy just chose to peace the hell out in the midst of a major management reshuffle and a new gate coming online in Hong Kong in relatively short order? It's not like Disney couldn't find a "project" or "job" to put him on if he genuinely wanted to stay with the company.

That's probably because he did not want to stay. Disney isn't stupid enough to fire the executive with most senior level experience in the entire division over a metrics project that was years in development before his involvement.

Ignore fanboi chatter and insider gossip about this guy being fired over NextGen. Nick Franklin is a dramatic loss to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The adult supervision has left the building.
 

Mike S

Well-Known Member
So it's official. Instead of giving Frozen a grand ride like it deserves (in Magic Kingdom) they're shoehorning it into Norway where it doesn't belong :( Anyone know if they sell Maelstrom shirts in the gift shop? I'll have to buy one on my next trip to remember what once was.
 
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